Knowledge doesn’t necessarily reflect intelligence and book smarts doesn’t always equate to street smarts; college freshmen are finding it difficult to culturally adapt and be independent, regardless of how ready they are to write 10 page papers.
Freshman students at Kalamazoo College, generally speaking, are academically capable of taking on rigorous courses and tight deadlines. However, students seem to be lacking basic skills to help them adjust to independent life. “Honestly I feel really prepared for class work but I’m worried about eventually doing my own taxes and having to manage money because I was never taught that in high school,” said Logan Johnston ‘20.
Johnston’s experience is not unusual on campus, Sara Nixon ’20 also said she was prepared for challenging academics, but that was it. “There were one or two talks about addiction to substances and I think maybe one about safe sex,” said Nixon. Not only do high schools neglect to teach students about the importance of financial stability and general independent life skills, they fail to prepare students for real world problems like drugs and the importance of sexual safety.
These systemic educational problems stem from the monumental pressure put on students to be well versed in subjects such as Science, Math and English in high school. Classes that involve The Arts have often been neglected because of these core classes, but recently classes like home economics and personal finance have been under siege as well. For many high school students, even if they were offered, the pressure to take as many AP and Honors classes takes precedence.
The result is a generation full of knowledgeable students who struggle to acclimate to real life. What’s the point of knowing all the math in the world if one cannot understand how to apply for a loan? How will that 10 page paper help stop sexual harassment at parties or drug use on campus? Many students don’t learn about addiction at all throughout their time in high school. In college, when there are no parents around and many drugs are accessible, ignorance is a dangerous bliss.
The solution is simple, bring back classes that enable societal participation, integrate sexual violence into health classes and touch more on issues such as drug and alcohol addiction. The only problem is, those in charge refuse to see the adverse effects of over-emphasizing Science, Math and English. Although these are important subjects, they cannot take precedence over practical life skills. Ignorant scholars are not the future.